Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

David Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Famiglietti, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Sylvester, Ph.D.


This qualitative study examined social media in the school setting from the point of view of eighth-grade participants. This study implemented a focused ethnography, examining a group of individuals’ perspectives on a focused area of their shared culture. Using critical theory, this study examined qualitative data with the concepts of structures, subjectivity, and power at the confluence of social media and school for eighth-grade students. Qualitative data were collected using five semi-structured focus groups, artifact analysis, fieldnotes, and memos. The findings highlighted that eighth-grade students acknowledge that there is a struggle between social media and school. This struggle alters their school experience, both in terms of subjectivity—in the form of a struggle for recognition—and in the structures they navigate daily—in the form of a friction between the media and scholastic apparatus. The findings show this struggle as an antinomic, ambiguous, and ambivalent battle where students experienced both advantages and disadvantages from the confluence between social media and school.